You are here:


Home | Preparing for Selection | AOSB | Kit & Equipment | Tests & Assessments | Forum | Contact Us

© 2012 All rights reserved.

Individual Obstacle Course

This individual obstacle course is the final test before lunch on day 3 of Main Board. In this section I will highlight what you need to do to make yourself stand out from the other candidates and prove that you've got the what it takes to be an Army Officer. Reading and understanding this advice is the easy part, putting it into practice when your under pressure and pushing yourself to you physical limit is quite another.


The obvious aim of the individual obstacle course is to assess your fitness and athletic ability. However, this exercise also provides the staff with the opportunity to gain an insight into several elements of your character including your determination, aggression, perseverance and confidence. In order to do well you must demonstrate all of these qualities throughout the course.


All candidates will attempt the course individually under the close observation of a member of staff. You will be required to complete a number of obstacles around the course, each of which will present a different physical or indeed mental challenge. You will have a limited amount of time to get around the course, scoring points for each obstacle that you successfully clear. Should you fail to clear an obstacle correctly or break one of the rules you will be given up to three attempts to pass it before you are ordered to move on. Not all of the obstacles are equally weighted and your ability to complete some will score you more points than others. Each obstacle will test you in a different way; some will require an element of skill or balance while others will require careful timing and co-ordination. Others, perhaps those requiring you to climb a rope (hint hint) will enable you to demonstrate your strength and stamina. You should aim to complete as many obstacles as possible within the given period of time to achieve the maximum score.

What the staff are looking for

Hard work!

The basic principle here is to throw yourself into the task at hand. The observers want to see what you’re made of – now is the time to show them. You should approach obstacle with energy and enthusiasm to demonstrate that you have what it takes to push yourself and get the job done. They will be looking firstly at your fitness and athleticism; how nimble are you on your feet? If you want to know how to improve your fitness for this test and find recommended energy supplements to give you the edge, visit the Getting Fit section of this site.


One of the easiest ways to flunk this test is to give anything less than 100% effort. Accept from the start that at some point you will reach exhaustion and want to stop. Fact. It is as this point that you must resist this urge and show the resolve and determination to fight through. The observers will be able to tell when you have reached this point, they see it every day and of course will have experience it themselves at various times their military careers. As will you. You must keep going. Unless you are concerned that you are putting yourself at serious medical risk you must keep working until you are told to stop. If you feel like you’re going to be sick only you will be able to decide how to deal with this. Call me sadistic if you will, but I have a certain amount of respect for anyone who after chucking their guts up, has the persistence to carry on - ‘Come on then, what else have you got for me?’ There is a reason why this is the last event before lunch. I have heard pain described as many things, but one of my favourite analogies is that of it being akin to the sensation of weakness leaving the body. During the individual obstacle course you must relish and embrace this sensation, demonstrate your grit, drive and determination and you will not fail make a lasting impression.


There are likely to be certain obstacles about which you may be apprehensive; perhaps you are uncomfortable with heights or enclosed spaces. There is nothing at all wrong with this. The staff will understand that for many candidates this will be the first time you have attempted anything like this. At this point you need to have confidence in your own abilities and overcome your fears. There is nothing more satisfying than to see someone overcome something about which they are afraid or hesitant. It is unlikely that your main barrier throughout the obstacle course will have anything to do with your fitness, strength or physical ability. What is going to influence your success and the message that you send to the observing staff is your mental attitude. Before the whistle has been blown you must mentally train yourself for success. Put aside those thoughts of doubt and apprehension and have the confidence to approach the task with zest. Many will have done this before you and many will follow in your steps – you can do this.

Link to a product to improve confidence here